We all know the importance of eating lunch, especially for our kids who need to stay active, energized and healthy for the rest of the day. Sadly, we hear a lot of mothers facing common problems with their own children who refuse to eat. The mommy bloggers we follow can’t emphasize enough on the importance of healthy dietary habits for children, and their personal experience is backed up by serious research too. Cooking healthy lunches for kids is not such a big issue, one might think, but what do you do when you run out of healthy lunch ideas for kids, or the little ones don’t agree with your menus?
Some children are not the most understanding beings when it comes to eating and this is how a negotiation process begins with the small ones to have their lunch while they are at home. Although most children have lunch at school or kindergarten, moms don’t feel fully secured about what they eating there, as they have a sensitive immune system and can get sick immediately. Also, not all parents trust that everything that comes in packed boxes is good for their children.
According to a recent study published in Jama Pediatrics and cited by Time.com, researchers from the University of Illinois emphasize the importance of school lunches for children to stay healthy. However, they have discovered that kids who attended schools with no qualitative nutritional standards were more exposed to be obese, in comparison to children attending others institutions where these standards were superior.
All kids need to have a daily healthy lunch, because it will provide them with the nutritious elements required to be able to consume all that energy they have, to lean, to grow and to stay strong and safe from illnesses. Eating healthy products will help them have a normal weight, avoid obesity problems or lacks in their mineral and vitamin levels and achieve a normal development. If you lack inspiration regarding kid friendly recipes and suggestions, see below a list of 10 ideas for a healthy lunch for kids. Don’t know exactly what to put in the lunch box to determine them to eat? Here is a useful list to consider.
1. Fresh fruit and vegetables
Besides from being easy to pack, they are rich in vitamins and proteins which provide your kid with all the energy needed for a day. You can choose to pack foods such as bananas, fresh melon or strawberries or go for vegetables that can be used in a big size sandwich. If you are looking for more details about recommended fruits or vegetables, you can also check out Freshforkids.com with great information about each product, why it is good to eat, what is its availability, how to eat it and other useful information.
Fruits salad, however, can be an excellent solution for a lunch pack, as it is colorful, easy to eat and full of vitamins. Among all the healthy lunch ideas for kids, this one is the best and still, the hardest to impose on children. So if you want to keep your child interested in eating fruits and vegetables, you can take a look over some delicious and easy – to – make kid friendly recipes which involve veggies.
2. Baked potatoes with salad
Photo via Foodnetwork.com
Easy and tasty, baked potatoes can be an excellent idea for your kid’s lunch pack, because they are a lower-fat choice than fried potatoes with lot of oil, which isn’t good for them. Moreover, you can also add some salad including cucumbers or tomatoes which are mostly preferred by kids. If you think baked potatoes are dull and common enough for the kids to get interested in, let’s see some interesting ideas on how to turn the boring potato into one of the most entertaining and healthy lunch ideas for kids.
Here you have a recipe for the Baked Potato Mice, a fun, nutritious and good looking dish that will make the kids hungry only by looking at the plate! Butter, milk and Cheddar Cheese is basically all you need to turn lunch into an adventure!
3. Reduced fat yogurt
As a careful parent, you are probably informed about yogurt’s great benefits, especially the Greek yogurt which is considered to be the perfect healthy snack for various reasons such as bone healthy, heart health, weight reduction or a great source for muscles’ health and development. Recent studies found out that Greek yogurts has tremendous benefits for the health of both children and adults and it can be used in so many good, simple variations of sweet snacks, you’d be amazed.
The best part about the Greek yogurt is its great and flexible flavor which can be combined with a wide variety of healthy toppings. Anyway, it is recommended to give your kid a simple form combined with some sweet bio biscuits or cookies, depending on preferences. Also, you can turn yogurt into an awesome raw recipe and into a fruity delicious snack which can compliment any meal of the day. As we said before, yogurt is among the coolest new food trends of the year, so start creating your own yogurt – based kid friendly recipes!
4. Lower-fat cheese
Another useful option to provide a healthy lunch for kids is to combine a portion of lower-fat cheese with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, salad or other fresh ones. Your kid won’t refuse this snack and will eat it, as long as the said snack looks delicious and appetizing and becomes impossible to refuse.
A study published by the University of Rochester Medical Center, entitled Say Cheese the Low-Fat Way teaches us how to cook low – fat cheese and how to eat it in order to avoid the downsides of fatty cheese and high – calories meals and to fully benefit from the nutritious elements in cheese. Some of the recipes presented in the study are great, but if you need even more inspiration for healthy lunch ideas for kids, here are some amazing Healthy Cottage Cheese Recipes!
5. Beans. All Shapes, All Sizes, All Recipes
Do you want to cook your kid a healthy lunch meal this summer vacation? Why not use your cooking skills and try some baked beans assorted with some light salad and bread? If it’s not usually too naughty and he / she eats everything you put on the plate, you may also tell them a story about the beans’ benefits (which is rich in fiber and proteins, but this is not the story your child will be most likely in favor to hear). You don’t have to feed the children a sack of beans a day, but make them surprising beans – based dishes that will hook them on forever!
What is truly great about beans is that they can go in a lot of home – made quick healthy recipes, some of them traditional, some of them a bit unconventional. In Europe, there are educational programs which focus on teaching children tastes and about tastes. These programs are meant to increase kids’ interest in foods and in the knowledge behind foods, and also develop their creativity and passion for cooking. We are telling you this because we found some awesome beans recipes on Parents.com and some of them involve less common ingredients, like shrimp and cous – cous. If you want to make sure your child gets the best healthy lunch, you may try one of these.
6. A delicious sandwich with fat free cheese and chicken
Your kids will probably ask for bacon, and they can have some from time to time, but in order to master all kid friendly recipes that are both tantalizing for them to eat and healthy on the long run, you can replace bacon with some light chicken. We have presented you in the past with some awesome chicken recipes, but you can get as creative as you want, as chicken can be cooked in tens of ways. Turkey is also something to introduce your children to.
But back to sandwiches, they make a great snack lunch, in spite the fact that they are considered fast – food or at least some sort of breakfast or brunch alternative. And we are not talking about pre – packed sandwiches you can find on a shelf, either. We are talking about home – made, fresh, delicious sandwiches which can be a great alternative to ask your kid to eat something during lunch time, the period when he’s quite active and eager to play with other kids, instead of doing his nap hour. Providing a source of vitamins and proteins with a tasty sandwich can be a worthy idea to offer your kid a simple and quick lunch break.
Sandwiches are also more versatile than you think, as they can be made in various shapes and designs. The more attractive, the better, isn’t it? Here are some fun sandwiches for kids you may want to try!
7. Vegetables soup
A great source of vitamins can be provided to children with a healthy portion of vegetables soup. If you are a full time mom with a part time job, it means you have plenty of time to take care of your kid’s daily diet. Therefore, you can prepare for your child a delicious home made vegetables soup after a simple recipe where you need to follow just a few steps.
Let’s quote some food experts on this one:
Soups are the fall and winter equivalent of a crisp salad. They are a great way for the kids to get their daily recommended servings of vegetables, the varieties of vegetable soups you can make are endless, and they can be hearty enough to be a meal in and of themselves. And these vegetable soup recipes include lots of options to suit kids of all ages and palate stages.
There are dozens of easy – to – cook, simple, healthy and delicious vegetables soup recipes out there, all entering the category of healthy lunch ideas for kids, all nutritious, surprising and even fun to see. We recommend you this list of soups that make the best kid friendly recipes you’ll find!
8. Tuna or salmon. Actually, fish in general
Given their great properties for the body and given the fact that they are a good source of omega 3, tuna or salmon represent another excellent healthy lunch for kids. Admittedly, tuna and salmon make any meal healthy and delicious, no matter the time of day we have them. These lean proteins should preferably be consumed fresh or boiled or steamed and they can be mixed with some light rice, vegetables, pasta, fruits even, bread, beans and almost anything you can think of. Easy to cook, fish in general is a healthy food and a delicious meal that your kid will love.
One of the greatest things about fish is that it gives you plenty of cooking options and choices. Don’t think that fried salmon or steamed tuna is the only thing you can make at home. You can turn fish into delicious pies and casseroles, salads, appetizers, stews, rolls and so on. Take a look here over these 20 Fish Recipes The Kids Will Eat and get inspired!
9. Homemade pizza
How about two or three slices of pizza? Kids will surely not refuse it, especially if it is homemade with cheese, light ham or mushrooms and other vegetables. You can also try with a bit of sweet ketchup and some fresh orange juice and your kid will surely enjoy his lunch break. Pizza is perhaps the easiest way to convince your child to have lunch and be happy about it. While restaurant – pizza is also delicious, kids need a bit more attention to the ingredients on the pizza they ingest, this is why we insist on home – made pizza instead of take – out pizza.
If you really want the child interested in eating good food and involved in the process of making it, you can engage him or her into making pizza at your side. It’s an entertaining family activity, the child will learn a few things (and make a mess, but that’s inevitable and fun) and will eat the end – result with a bigger appetite! So here are 10 Easy, Kid-Friendly Pizza Recipes and here is a video on how to make pizza together with the children! Enjoy!
10. Pasta. With moderation, but pasta!
Among all the healthy lunch ideas for kids, a child friendly recipe is pasta salad, which can be an excellent idea for a healthy meal. Whether it is for home or for school, it is a perfect solution, easy to prepare, tasty and rich in fiber. Go to a supermarket and look for creative pastas in various shapes that will be more appealing for your kid.
The thing about pasta is it is good for our health, but not in combination with all sorts of fatty ingredients, because it can turn from a carbohydrate – fiber – rich dish into a caloric bomb that can jeopardize the health of a growing child. But not all past recipes are bad for children. Some are very nutritious, appealing and valuable for their general health. Pasta goes with anything and everything, so you are in an open – world of cooking, with only your imagination to stop you from making some of the best dishes in the world. Here you have a Kid – Friendly Pasta Recipes List to inspire you to change the menu and offer kids a real treat!
If you are packing your kid’s healthy lunch, don’t forget to add a bottle of water to keep him hydrated all day. Do you have other healthy lunch ideas for kids that you have tried recently? Feel free to share your kid friendly recipes and especially to let us know what kind of lunches your kids prefer! (We all know how picky kids can be about food…)